Back against the wall

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by Bezoechow, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. Bezoechow

    Bezoechow Member

    Now that I've signed up, I might as well start a little journal. Hi everyone!

    A few months ago I decided I needed help. My studies had, yet again, ground to a halt and this time it was clear to me that it was only my own behaviour that was to blame. Over the year I had gradually learned to accept that I was addicted. To gaming!

    However, when I let slip to the therapist that the P games were in particular problematic, he perked up. And the next session he had seemingly forgot all about the gaming and only spoke about P addiction.

    Now I had been aware of P addiction and YBoP for quite a while, but had dismissed it not once but twice, fearing it was more about misogyny and religion than actual science. Third time is the charm however, no small thanks to my therapist.

    Looking back I became addicted to both P and gaming shortly after my twelfth birthday when I got my own desktop computer in my room. With me being a depressed, tightly wound teenager that was a pretty major parenting mistake. But that's the power of hindsight.

    Eighteen years later I have no other way forward but to ditch my compulsions and to learn to live a life of only natural desires, needs and emotions. It's scary. I'm afraid of all the sadness and anger that I've tried to avoid feeling for all these years. But my back is to the wall. I have to fight for my life or die trying.

    Well, that feels about right for an introduction. I welcome your input, especially your support. Thanks for reading!
     
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  2. Bezoechow

    Bezoechow Member

    I should mention that I'm about two weeks in the clear. I don't plan on keeping a counter, but it does seem useful to have some idea of how far away I am from the last relapse. I'll be going light mode which allows for M&O. I found M&O doesn't lead me to P and in fact helps me keep away from it. I understand that this is different for everyone.

    It's the bingeing I'm most afraid of. In the last few years I've developed the nasty habit of edging to P for hours on end. I remember at my worst I had three days in a row of almost nonstop edging. The day before I had my first appointment with my doctor I binged for 30 hours straight, only finishing up when it was time to leave. I'm worried this might've damaged my prostate and I fear what would happen during a relapse, when my body isn't as accustomed to the abuse.

    For now I feel cautiously optimistic. I've had some tough moments so far but as long as I can handle the returning negative emotions, practise self kindness and respect my limits I feel I might be all right. I'm also seeing a therapist specialised in addiction once a week and I've applied for group sessions once a week as well. Reading your journals has impressed me with the notion that this is going to be a very tough and long battle. I'll need all the help I can get.
     
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  3. Bezoechow

    Bezoechow Member

    Today was very difficult, but I think that I handled it very well. I feel proud of myself, tired but satisfied.

    A long awaited update to one of the most popular P games came out this morning. I was well aware of it and had resigned myself to having to check it out. If I could get through this without edging or bingeing I would be very happy. While I couldn't avoid rubbing one out, it took only a couple of minutes. A stumble to be sure but not the heavy fall I had been dreading.

    Afterwards I realised that, while the game is very well made, its only substance is desire. There is no payoff, no enjoyment, nothing of interest to it but the very craftful generation of massive amounts of dopamine. Lately such large dopamine hits have been triggering a lot of fear, frustration and regret in me, not to mention severe headaches. Spurred on by these feelings I was able to delete the game from my laptop. I feel like this went as well as it could, so I'm grateful and much relieved.

    Another relief was that I finally found the courage to write and send a very important e-mail to inform my 'studycoach' about the changed nature of my addiction and how this would affect the continuation of my studies. Before the summer holidays I had already discussed a plan with her but with only the gaming addiction in mind. If I'm to have any chance to actually make any progress in my education I believe I'll have to be honest and open about my addiction. Again, I'll need all the help I can get. Writing the e-mail took a lot of concentration, which has been in short supply. I hope to continue our planning in person which I find much more comfortable.

    That's enough for now. So much to write about still but it'll have to wait. I find the writing very helpful in organising my thoughts and memories, so I'm glad I took the plunge yesterday.
     
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  4. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Welcome @Bezoechow !

    I hope journaling on here can help you out and become a good tool for you. I think it sure has been of some help to me, in the way I used it this past year. It keeps me in a mind frame of improving myself - even if I had slips and moments of down - and the sense of community is nice to have. And there is also a sense of accountability I guess which can help out.

    Well done on being in the clear for the past 2 weeks regarding the P habit despite the slip up you mention of today.

    Good luck onward !
     
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  5. Merton

    Merton Well-Known Member

    Welcome Bezoechow. I can definitely relate to the edging. I have only at most gone about 1-2 hours, and usually it is around 1 hour, but even that is quite hard on my body. I think I used to do this when I was little, and then it went away. One thing I have found is that if I only MO then there is essentially no edging, and I feel nowhere near as bad afterward. The difficulty for me is keeping it only to MO.

    Anway congrats for making the step here. It is not easy to do. I hope all goes well!
     
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  6. Bezoechow

    Bezoechow Member

    Thanks for the kind messages @Thelongwayhome27 and @Merton!

    Tonight I slipped up some more. I was very tired but couldn't sleep, which seems to be a symptom of withdrawal. Instead of sleeping I laid in bed for a couple of hours thinking, which caused me to get 'inside my head' too much. Once I do that I start to lose contact with my feelings and that's when I'm most vulnerable to relapse. The firewall of emotion falls away and I'm seemingly powerless to resist. Not quite powerless, as the remedy is simply to remember to reconnect with my body.

    In my determination to get that darn e-mail out of the door I think I went a little over my limits. I was afraid of that which is why I had been delaying the issue. It really couldn't wait much longer though, if only for the heavy stress and fear that had been building up. The price to pay was a couple of hours spent browsing, downloading and playing P games accompanied with an unsatisfying M&O. It wasn't a huge fall nor did it feel like it, but it likely put my progress back a bit.

    It's a good reminder that I'm still very vulnerable and that I should avoid going over my limits whenever possible. Sometimes that just can't be avoided and I shouldn't feel too guilty about the concequences. The more I force myself beyond my limits the longer it seems the addiction can take a hold of me, so that at least seems to indicate that a crazy relapse should be avoidable.

    Phew... I'm feeling very tired and a little dejected, but oddly I also feel a more pleasant emotion, a sort of happy and sad accepting of my flaws and loving myself for it. Like I'm a dumb little kid that didn't listen and burned himself on the stove for the umpteenth time. It's gonna be all right.
     
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  7. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    At certain times (especially when vulnerable, tired, with other recent slips), pushing yourself passed limits sure has a way to bring the cravings back strong. I can imagine that email may have provoked a lot of anxiety and strong feelings (since you couldn't even sleep) - I relate to taking a "decisive step" and then dealing with the avalanche of emotions.

    I'm a strong believer in the fact that we heal from whatever the root of our addiction is when we start owning it more (I see a lot of this with people who are doing well in they're recovery), as in not afraid to tell about it to some safe persons - most of all own it up to ourselves, which means to not disown this part in us - but are you sure you want/need to tell your study coach ? Well I mean of course you know best but I'm not sure we have to tell everyone about it. Unless I'm still not honest enough myself and this is my own need to hide who I am ... but I don't know I just think it's like even healthy sexually people will not go and discuss with everyone they're sexual habits. Keep in mind I'm no expert though (far from having beaten my problems) and I also may have read the study coach email situation wrong ? But it was just my thought that yes we need to not hide who we are but we must not punish ourselves to tell more then necessary to everyone. Not sure this makes sense ... Another thing is we can always come clean to a person but up to a certain extent that is reasonable for the context. But yeah... tricky waters to navigate this honesty thing and how to gage it.

    Regarding the slips, my advice (for whatever it's worth) is to keep being kind to yourself and keep trying to reconnect to your values and who you want to be. Write here, write about it for yourself, take care of yourself. Find that light which is yours :) Slowly, the cravings will become more manageable and you'll remember why it's better not to give in ... even if in truth there is no toxic shame in giving in. You got this !

    I'll add that I too relate to the edging problem. And the binge edging. I was never someone who Oed a lot of times in the same day (maybe my max was 4 or 5 times) but my PMO problem was often an edging problem. I would edge for hours and hours (I became an edger naturally before knowing what edging means). Sometimes all night even. When I first started seriously trying to quit this habit the binge relapses were really bad because I would edge a lot and like you say my body was not as accustomed at that point to do it since I had been clean for a while. That's one of the things that made me reassess my relationship to noFap, because I was in this pattern of clean (purge) and then the slips were really nasty and depressive. I really hope I'm in a better stable place now (I actually haven't had ugly edge long night binges in a long time, despite slips of PMO) but I'm sure that given the wrong cascade of elements I could end up in a new edge binge. One thing though, is that it seems with age naturally I am less inclined to edge very long. In my 20s ... I sure had the edge energy lol. When I was I think 21, I was at a 9 to 5 job at the time, and I had random nights of edging (always finishing with an O though, that was my rule lol) until about 4AM or more. When I was in a "horny phase" I would do this 2 or 3 nights in a row, every day being more tired at work. Crazy right ?
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
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  8. Bezoechow

    Bezoechow Member

    @Thelongwayhome27 Thanks for a great post. Lots to unpack here!

    Yes, the e-mail was making me quite anxious. There's a risk that I won't be allowed to continue my studies at this place as I've failed to meet the necessary requirements last year. Besides that I was simply lacking the energy and focus to concentrate on writing it. My energy levels have slowly been going up over the last few weeks but in this instance it wasn't quite enough yet.

    Indeed there's a chance that telling my study coach about my P addiction might backfire. It's an interesting experiment to be sure. There are quite a number of reasons why I believed I should trust her with the information. I've gotten to know her as trustworthy, helpful and open-minded over the past year and she's got a good grasp of psychology, so I gambled that she wouldn't misunderstand, or at least ask questions if she might. We'll see. I might be a little too forward about it. Maybe there's also a cultural element: I'm from the Netherlands, where directness and honesty are valued more than anywhere else. It's not without limits: there are unwritten rules and anything related to sex is definitely a grey area. My experience has been that Dutch people leaning to the more progressive side are very appreciative, even if a little uncomfortable.

    "Find that light which is yours", that's quite a beautiful way to put it. Let us both follow our lights to freedom!

    Oh yes, I've had the same edging rhythm while working. Very exhausting! I'm glad to hear that you're doing better now in that regard. It's crazy, but I believe not without rationale, if you'll allow me to indulge in my pet theory. Edging is a great way to generate desire, i.e. dopamine, in massive amounts over a long time. All the dopamine that would ordinarily provide energy, focus, desire and emotion is siphoned away, which I think is why all of us feel so washed out. This is exactly the goal of my addiction: taking away my desires so I don't have anything to be angry about. It's the feeling of anger that I want to avoid at all cost.

    When we avoid P and allow our dopamine to regenerate and flow back to the natural system, our energy, desires and emotion slowly but surely return. This is why I'm much less concerned with slips and stumbles but mortified of bingeing. A few spikes of desire we can handle, even if it's best while in recovery to avoid them anyway. But a full-on multi-day binge will deplete all the dopamine that we so painstakingly built back up and we'll be back to square one. The tricky thing is to take away the reason why we started disabling our desires and instead learn to live with them. Only then we can truly recover.
     
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  9. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Very interesting theory and way to put it. Thanks for sharing it. I think this applies well to my own experience indeed. Despite feeling sad and down on myself when I relapsed, especially if it was a "binge edge type of session", I often felt a sense of mellow and calmness for a while. Sometimes this even went on the next day. Which was puzzling. Say I was on day 25 of a streak I had trouble keeping up and the last 5 days I was super horny and stressed out, I started feeling very uptight and unsocial around people. Then I binge relapse and the next day I found myself being zen like and actually social and easy going. It's like I processed all those emotions with the binge. But it's a (very) short term solution (not to mention unhealthy) because the shame and social anxiety came back soon after and then I had to deal, on top of that, with the pain of "loosing my streak". Hence why I would often keep binging for a few days at that point. Really, if I try to look optimistically at things it's that I've gotten more and more relaxed/layed back with losing "my streaks" and better at dealing with them.

    It's interesting how every PMO user ends up developing naturally certain patterns or habits or tastes of P. For me clearly the edging type of PMO I got to very naturally. Long before I even knew what YBOP is. The edge was often funner then the climax. As I progressed in age the climax got worst and worst... Definitely agree with you that staying off edge binges is very important if we want to recover. But also using P in moderation never worked for me (tried this a lot). It lead back to the edge binge at some point. Best thing is no P at all. Keep working to get there in my case. Hopefully getting better at it.

    Anyways, I like your approach of trying to understand the addiction. Recovery sure seems to be to 1) Develop/build the life skills in order to decrease the level of negative emotions (this can also be something like developing self acceptance and then self assertive on top for example) - and 2) Develop/build other healthier ways of dealing, processing with the inevitable build up of both energy (desire as you called it) and stress in us. Finally as we keep doing this our lives themselves will start getting better (actual changes - for example better relationships, changing jobs, whatever is needed) which will only help out in the momentum.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
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  10. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Member

    Bezoechow

    I have mentioned this before elsewhere, but props to you for being able to express your recovery experiences outside of your L1. I think I would have a lot of difficulties talking about mine in my L2.

    You wrote about your concerns over facing sadness, anger, and other emotions without your porn use as a buffer. I definitely don't want to put you ill at ease, but, at least for me, the return of normal emotions and the resurfacing of all the painful emotions from the past are a tortuous gauntlet to run through while recovering. Anxiety, regret, anger, sadness, fear, worthlessness, hopelessness...the list goes on and on and also includes positive but at the same time overwhelming emotions like happiness and excitement. I've had them slam into me full force like a dump truck. These experiences have been really agonizing, but I also think I am finally realizing how important it is to habituate to them without responding with porn (or other addictions/avoidant behaviors). We slowly get better at enduring them and ameliorate with time, and, simultaneously, we can program our brains to reinforce ourselves with healthy, positive and/or uplifting responses. I think our coping mechanism gets so distorted through addiction that normally coping with these emotions seems like an impossible task. But we are in fact just not used to doing so, whereas non-addicts are. We just need time to return to equilibrium. Maybe that's what rebooting really is.

    During some of my past streaks (e.g. 8 weeks with only a bit of fantasy here and there, no PMO), which feel like vague dreams to me even though they are in fact real experiences I had in the past, my mood stabilized, emotions improved (anxiety decreased, depression was feeling like maybe it would leave me alone for good (after suffering from it on a daily basis for more than a decade), happiness was more frequent but not destabilizing, anger/irritation felt less frequent, and sadness was maybe more present but it felt like a healthy and reinforcing type of sadness that I had been overly numb to before) and cognition...well to be honest I am not so sure because I was a.) not paying attention to it and b.) I was smoking a lot of marijuana (concentrate) then. I am a little anxious about how my cognition will change to be honest, but many people have said things like verbal fluency, brain fog and memory all get better, so that's encouraging. Who knows, you might see emotional, cognitive and social improvements on this journey. I sure hope that's in the works for both of us.

    I hear you about pushing ourselves too far past our limits. That has been a more frequent cause of relapse for me over this past year. The area I have difficulty navigating is when there is something that I urgently need to get done, but my body is giving me signs that doing so is pushing me toward relapse. It's tough, but maybe that's life's way of telling me I need to work more on my procrastination habits? Not sure. In any event, I definitely sympathize with you on this point. If you stumble across any good techniques for dealing with this on your journey, I'd love to hear about them.

    Anyway, best of luck to you!
     
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  11. Bezoechow

    Bezoechow Member

    Short little update for now but I'll definitely get back to you two. Thanks for the great discussion @Thelongwayhome27 and @NewStart19!

    Today was tricky. I had two important meetings to talk about the future of my studies. Thankfully both of them (one being my study coach) were willing to work with me and my situation. My study coach told me she was shocked at first, because she didn't know what P addiction was or that I was in so much trouble. Thankfully my gamble did pay off and we had a good conversation where we both gained trust in each other. To the other educator I only mentioned a burn-out, which covers most withdrawal symptoms anyway. I'm relieved that quitting my studies is of the table, but sad that I'll have to leave my friends in my study group behind as there is no way of keeping up with the regular tempo. Also I had to dig up some anger to defend my position which was frightening even though it went rather well.

    Yesterday I had done very little to gather energy for today and I think that worked out very well. I was present, connected and, well, "normal", which bodes well for the future. Now I'll take it easy to gather energy for therapy tomorrow. Also I have to send another e-mail, thankfully a much easier one. I've kept well within my limits today so I'm very happy and proud of myself.
     
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  12. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Member

    @Bezoechow

    Looking forward to hearing back from you. When you do, please let me know what your profile picture is from. I've been wanting to know since I first saw you pop up here.

    Take care
     
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  13. Bezoechow

    Bezoechow Member

    I actually am very apprehensive about sharing my theories. I feel that they're wild and overly ambitious. Also my parents really don't like them. So it made me quite happy to read that you appreciated it! Thanks for that. I mean, my therapist accepts them, but that's what my insurance is paying him to do, so it's nice to have someone else getting into it. Actually I've got some more ideas on this addiction so maybe I'll share them here as well.

    Yes, that calmness, serenity I saw someone put it, seems to be a central part of the P addiction experience though there might be some interference from relieving sexual tension, I'm not sure. For me it definitely works as a way of dealing with my emotions. Which is bad, because emotions have an important signalling function and can also activate you to deal with the sources of discomfort. Taking those functions away makes me very inert and absent-minded. I'm glad you're feeling more optimistic and relaxed. That might help you avoid the need for this calmness in the future.

    I got to say, edging really only came into full force for me when I discovered P games. Might also have something to do with trying to quit gaming, which required me to find another way of relieving my feelings. But honestly I just don't remember. My memory of facts is very good but specific episodes I have a very hard time recalling. It does seem that it's getting better though as my recovery progresses. I do remember that early in my therapy (so a couple of months ago) I had a 24 hour session of edging without any O. I had made a commitment to my therapist only to M&O (and abstain from P) on the day before therapy, so when I relapsed a few days before, my addicted brain told me that it would be all right if at least I didn't O...

    To my surprise I seem to be able to use P now in a very normal manner. This is only the case as long as I stay connected with my feelings so that I know when I've had enough P and so that the joy of O remains the focus. I found this out at the end of the first week when I couldn't help myself researching it. However P still causes large dopamine hits which I really want to avoid for now, so I'm trying to keep away from P as much as possible.

    I think you're right on the money about the nature of recovery. Reduce negative emotions and learn to process them in a more healthy manner. Once you can start tolerating them for a bit they start protecting you from relapse, which is just the loveliest miracle. I've really been experiencing my emotions working for me, pushing me on towards healthy and fulfilling activities. That said the amount of anger or sadness that I can tolerate is still very small, so there's much more work to be done.
     
  14. Bezoechow

    Bezoechow Member

    Thanks! I do have to search for some translations now and then, but it's actually quite fun to exercise my English like this.

    Oh I know what you mean! The second day of committed sobriety, five days free from P, I was visited by a very large dose of both anger and sadness and a searing emotional pain. This seemed to stem from a traumatic experience when I was about four years old. I just hadn't processed these emotions ever before and it felt very weird, it felt old and primitive. Somehow I got through them by concentrating on keeping the connection with my feelings intact and after an hour or so it was over. I've been expecting them to return but so far they haven't. Yes, I agree that learning to deal with our emotions in a healthy manner and reaching the point where we can tolerate them for a while is the essence of recovery. Easier said than done though.

    I've already been experiencing major increases in energy, desire, focus and emotion. Brain fog is much less, memory seems to be getting better and indeed I feel ridiculously fluent both talking and writing. Besides that, I suddenly have the capacity of building relationships. The week before I had a startling emotional experience reconnecting with my dad, which was just wonderful. I love my dad, even though he's really bad at being one. I really hope you'll be able to get back to those improvements.

    Yes I had the same problem Monday, when I just had to get that e-mail out but felt that it would risk relapse. My therapist wisely showed me that it was my inability to tolerate the emotions surrounding the e-mail that forced the setback. So I think the only technique here is to work on growing that emotional tolerance to broaden your limits. If I could've accepted the anger and sadness that this e-mail brought forth there wouldn't have been a relapse, I'm sure. In fact, my therapist proposed EMDR to help me process my trauma and learn to handle my emotions more confidently. Therapy really has been a big help for me.
     
  15. Bezoechow

    Bezoechow Member

    The picture is of actor Henry Fonda in the role of Pierre Bezukhov in the 1956 film War and Peace. My pseudonym Bezoechow is a Dutch spelling of the same Russian name. Pierre is one of the main (fictional) characters of the novel War and peace by Leo Tolstoy, one of the greatest pieces of literature in the world. I chose him because Tolstoy portrays him as a sex addict. Pierre's arch throughout the story is that of deepening addiction and acting out, of misguided attempts to find recovery in mystic sources and finally of his redemption through months of forced abstinence. Written in the 1860s this shows how remarkable a writer Tolstoy was and I was startled when I realised how closely my symptoms matched Pierre's behaviour throughout the book. Besides that, Bezukhov has the same penchant for wild and grand theorising as I do so I felt that he would serve as a good alter ego on this forum.

    To be honest I haven't seen any of the films based on the book so the picture was just the most suiting I could find on google. The film apparently wasn't the greatest depiction even if it did star Audrey Hepburn.
     
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  16. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Member

    @Bezoechow

    Wow, you really put a lot of time into choosing your profile image. I think that says a lot about you and bodes well for your recovery efforts.

    I knew something about it was familiar, but I wouldn't have realized it's a picture of Henry Fonda if you didn't tell me. Maybe it's because of the glasses and the old-time garb.
     
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  17. Living

    Living Well-Known Member

    Hey @Bezoechow, welcome to the board:) I guess I can relate in a way to P-games being a bigger problem than porn video's. Although I have watched a whole lot of porn, what it really lacks for me is the interactivity. To me porn video's have always been like a background thing. And that's not like saying they weren't part of the problem, but perhaps less of a problem than they are to others. I am a guy with a whole lot of imagination and I guess I need a bit more than the one way world of video's. I'm interested, what kind of things are you working with your therapist?

    And what about your studies? You're 30, right? Did you start when you were 18? The reason why I am aking is that I finally finished my thesis last year (when I was already a very old man) and I know how being in your 30's and still working on something like that can have a pretty big impact on how you sometimes feel about yourself. While I always wanted to finish my thesis and saw no reason why I couldn't, it also became more and more of a burden. And that also made it even harder to finish it. Besides this I also had to make money, which gave me less time to work on my research. Therapy has helped me a lot with it. To me finishing my studies was not a question, it was something I really needed to do. But it became something that really stood between me and moving on with my life. I'm so glad that I have finished now and that has really made a positive impact on my life. And I'm not the only one here, I know several guys on the forum that have finished their studies in their mid thirties. Anyway, I know how tough that can be. Then again, perhaps you have just started your studies last year or you have absolutely no problem with taking longer and none of this applies to you:)

    By the way, you wrote about not having seen any War and Peace movies, but have you seen the recent mini-series by the BBC? It was pretty good with some solid actors.
     
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  18. Bezoechow

    Bezoechow Member

    Thanks! Yeah, I see what you mean. For me P games access both my addictions, when otherwise I wouldn't really prefer them. I like physical and auditive things so the usually verbal and visual nature of P games is actually kind of boring to me, but like no other they allow me to both escape the world and find serenity.

    My therapist is CBT oriented with an addiction specialisation. As I'm very familiar with CBT it's mostly been me taking the lead and him facilitating what I think I need, which is trust and a listening ear for my ideas. Lately we've been shifting focus to dealing with emotions as the addiction seems more or less under control for now.

    Ah, well, I did indeed start at 18 so I've been trying to study for the last twelve years. I've attempted several studies and came closest to finishing a bachelor's in pedagogische wetenschappen (roughly translates to child psychology). Eventually I realised that research and science just weren't for me. I don't enjoy scientific writing at all so I doubt I'd ever have started university if it weren't for my addiction. So last year I finally took the big decision, gave it all up and started education to become an elementary schoolteacher, which has been a delight. The newfound joy was a major part in the motivation to find help for my addiction. It was also very empowering to take an intentional step towards doing what I like rather than what I think I should like, for the first time in my life. Honestly, at this point I feel like I'm in extra time anyway, like I've reborn and been given another chance, so the fact that I'm still studying at thirty isn't bothering me much. I do wonder, now that my feelings and desires are returning, whether I might be tempted to change fields once again :D

    Not yet! Good tip, I'll probably get around to it in the near future. Apparently the soviet version is very good as well, surprisingly.
     
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  19. Bezoechow

    Bezoechow Member

    It's been a few days! Friday I had a good session with my therapist. After recounting my week we were both a little stumped at the speed of progress. I've had no real relapses, dopamine is returning at a good rate and there is no tension building towards a relapse either. I've been gaining ground both socially and emotionally, also living cleaner and healthier. This opposed to the deep pit I was in for a month at the start of therapy and the depth of my addiction even before that. This is all going much smoother than I expected. It's only been three weeks though and I've seen plenty of others on this forum who had a relatively easy ride the first round but hit trouble later on, so I'm not letting my guard down!

    Then the therapist zoomed in on the stumble of Monday night and he showed cleverly that behind the feeling of going beyond my limits was the inability to deal with or tolerate emotions of anger and sadness. With this tack we used the remaining time to explore the sources of my difficulty with anger and succeeded in processing some of it. Next week he has invited an EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapist which promises significant progress in that area. Also next week will be the start of group therapy with three other sex addicts, so I'm looking forward to that, even if I'm slightly apprehensive.

    After a full week of intense activities I was happy to have nothing planned for the weekend. I took the opportunity to try and reincorporate a fun activity for which I hadn't had the energy. I really like watching stuff on youtube, be it music, comedy or let's plays, so I wanted to get back to that in moderation. It did however backfire! While I'm much better at recognising and respecting my limits I've been focussing mostly on P lately. The fact of the matter is that I'm also seriously addicted to gaming and internet. Late last evening I downloaded a game on my mobile phone and it grabbed hold of me tightly. When later on a mosquito kept me out of my sleep I binged on mobile games for many hours, ruining my sleep. Thankfully at least I didn't relapse into P.

    If the focus of my P addiction is dopamine, that of the gaming addiction is stimulation, or more precisely overstimulation. Whenever I feel more sad than I can handle I like to overstimulate myself, which causes me to withdraw and hide from reality. Games are the most direct road to this goal but anything that is very stimulating can serve the same purpose like P, pop music or even manga. I think the last therapy session generated some sadness which we didn't get to, focussed as we were on anger. It sank back and Friday having been a pretty emotional day already it seems my body didn't feel like dealing with it over the weekend. When I started dabbling with more stimulating activities unaware of the underlying emotional disturbance I gave my addiction the chance to take control.

    Well, what can you do. Recovery is always going to be a tricky process and there really is no way of avoiding all pitfalls. We have to take risks to go further and sometimes that means we go a little too far. In any case it is a good reminder that I'm dealing with not one but two addictions. Both should be taken seriously! For now I will keep an eye on my stimulation level and take extra care to check for unprocessed emotions. I don't think returning to youtube is a bad idea by itself but I should avoid games for now. Thankfully overstimulation is much quicker and easier to recover from than low dopamine and already I'm feeling better. The loss of sleep is the biggest set back.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
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  20. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I can relate to what you write about the need for over-stimulation. Trying to understand my PMO problem made me see more clearly how it's interconnected to a larger pattern of impulsive actions. I also recognize that when I manage to practice more restraint on immediate gratification activities I reach a mood where either the P urges don't show up as strongly or it becomes easier to let go of them and do something else. It's like working out the muscle in my mind that is capable of letting go of the need for instant gratification. But it's a learning process. You are slowly re-teaching your system that the peace you are seeking can be actually found by scratching less hard. I think it can take some time to correct.

    But this is tricky though because we also have to give ourselves a break here and there I would say. It's just learning to relax with less violent dopamine producing agents. Learning to relax more naturally ... Without bankrupting the dopamine bank. Saving some for tomorrow ...

    I've always been curious about War and Peace and wanted to read it some day. What you have said about the character who has a sex addiction sure makes me want to read it more now.
     
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